Reno, NV, USA, June 30, 2023 — Five 19th century gold and silver ingots from the Gold Rush and Silver Rush sold for a combined $159,807 at a huge, four-day High-Grade Auction held June 15th thru 18th by Holabird Western Americana Collections, online and live in the gallery at 3555 Airway Drive (Suite 308) in Reno. The sale featured nearly 2,000 lots of mining collectibles, railroadiana, numismatics, Native and general Americana, philatelic, bottles, stocks, bonds, sports and art.
But it was the ingots (blocks of steel, gold, silver, or other metal, typically oblong in shape) that captured the attention of bidders. The top achiever was an 1880 Mathey, Kustel & Riotte silver ingot, which stood out from the others in terms of documented information, provenance and history surrounding the assayers whose names were on it. It is the only known example from Mathey, Kustel & Riotte and carried their logo punch and weighed 4.97 troy ounces ($42,175).
A close second was the 1883 Peck Mine silver ingot from Prescott, in the Arizona Territory, George Ralph assayer. The mine was discovered by Ed Peck in 1875. The ingot, trapezoidal in shape, was 4.52 troy ounces of silver fine 990 ($38,560). An important rectangular silver ingot made by Edward Ruhling and engraved by Nye & Company of Virginia City, Nevada in 1869 for William Sharon, the infamous King of the Comstock, weighing 4.90 troy ounces, hit $37,500.
A post-1890 silver and gold ingot from the Gould & Curry Silver Mining Company in Virginia City (â€œ14.85 oz, .0285 fine gold, value $8.74; 963 fine silver, value $18.58â€), showing the G & C bullion punch, found a new owner for $23,497; while a Conrad Weigand silver-gold ingot, No. 7091, 4.40 ounces of .558 fine silver and .0155 fine gold, different from other Conrad Weigand ingots and a classic dore bar from a silver-gold deposit (plus probably copper), made $18,075.
Internet bidding was facilitated by iCollector.com, LiveAuctioneers.com and Invaluable.com. Day 1, on Thursday, June 15th, contained 504 lots of transportation (to include steamer passes, railroadiana and transportation ephemera); militaria and weaponry; and stocks and bonds (to include mining, including the Aurora collection; oil; railroad; and miscellaneous categories).
A pictorial business card for the Cripple Creek & Victor Stage Company in Colorado (â€œDo not miss a stage ride over the mountainsâ€), with a vignette of a six-horse Concord stagecoach, appearing to date to 1898-1899, brought $2,500. Also, a pair of original Revolutionary War drumsticks, owned by James Baldwin, born in Saybrook Town Middlesex County, Conn., with provenance and a handwritten note from 1867, both 19 inches in length, commanded $3,875.
Day 2, on Friday, June 16th, featured 513 lots of art and general Americana (to include geographic sort and miscellaneous categories, to include books, fire and artistic labels).
A Wells Fargo agent letter from J. Hume regarding a Montana stage robbery in 1885, along with ancillary documents â€“ an important discovery from the man who caught the notorious outlaw Black Bart â€“ left the room for $3,875. Also, a first edition directory of the city of Nevada and Grass Valley, California from 1861 by Hugh H. Thompson (San Francisco), containing a history of the city, the names of its inhabitants and other information, 128 pages, finished at $2,875.
A remarkable archive from a legal Nevada prostitute, Kathy Eastland (aka â€œDestynyâ€), who collected memorabilia and photographs from her 15 years working the â€œranchesâ€ (circa 1998-2003) changed hands for $5,750. Also, a copy of Hornâ€™s Overland Guide from 1852, a guide for pioneers and prospectors, from the U.S. Indian Sub-Agency, Council Bluffs, on the Missouri River, to Sacramento, California, by Hosea B. Horn, published by J. H. Colton, made $5,500.
A handwritten Chinese medicine/apothecary (or order book) from Tombstone, Arizona, circa late 1800s, measuring 5 Â½ inches by 8 Â¼ inches by 5 inches, with some foxing on the covers and front cover damage, knocked down for $3,250; while a very rare International Chinese Business Directory published in San Francisco in 1913, compiled by Wong Kin, with large sections on major Asian cities, plus a large California section by city, about 1,700 pages, brought $2,875.
Day 3, on Saturday, June 17th, showcased Native Americana; mining (to include a Western assay collection and the aforementioned five top lot ingots; and ephemera, featuring the Comstock photograph collection); plus rare vintage and antique bottles (including Colorado medicines).
The original 1860 De Groot third edition Comstock map of the Washoe Mines, perhaps the only copy of the De Groot map in private hands today, accompanied by a major new well-researched story of this legendary map, gaveled for $15,000. Also, an amazing archive of original gold bullion shipment and receipt records from Virginia City, Montana banker Henry Elling to the Kountze Bank in New York, 1873-1881, with 200 receipts of gold bullion, achieved $4,750.
A finely-woven, canoe-shaped Pomo gift basket featuring stepped diamonds, triangles and motifs, and having a rim lined with clamshell discs and glass beads, plus bead and abalone shell pendants suspended on all sides, fetched $4,875. Also, a Washoe basket attributed to Tootsie Dick, who sold her baskets through the Cohn Emporium in Carson City, Nevada, this one made with willow and peeled willow and broken fern, with eagle and butterfly designs, hit $3,125.
A series of 25 sketches of the Washoe Mining Region in Virginia City, Nevada by Edward Vischer, reduced in size to photographs made from sketches Vischer made in 1861, printed in 1862 by Valentine & Co. (San Francisco) earned $3,125. Also, a group of 12 Indian Territory crown top soda bottles, including Comanche Bottling, Muskogee Bottling, Durant Bottling, Farleys Bottling, L C Moses Bartlesville and Atoka Ice & Power sold as one lot for $3,000.
Day 4, on Sunday, June 18th, was loaded with 446 lots of philatelic (including postcards, covers and stamps); sports; and numismatics (currency, ephemera, coins, medals and tokens). A classic, very first so-called dollar medal listed by Hibler Kappan, commemorating the opening of the Erie Canal in 1825, made of white metal and in the original box, along with a copy of an article on the medal in The Numismatist, published by Dave Bowers in July 2020, rose to $2,375.
To learn more about Holabird Western Americana Collections and their calendar of events, visit www.holabirdamericana.com.
About Holabird Western Americana Collections, LLC:
Anyone owning a collection that might fit into a Holabird Western Americana Collections auction is encouraged to get in touch. The firm travels throughout the U.S., to see and pick up collections. The company has agents all over America and will travel to inspect most collections. Holabird Western Americana Collections, LLC is always seeking new and major collections to bring to market. It prides itself as being a major source for selling Americana at the best prices obtainable, having sold more than any other similar company in the past decade alone. The firm will have its entire sales database online soon, at no cost â€“ nearly 200,000 lots sold since 2014. To consign a single piece or a collection, you may call Fred Holabird at 775-851-1859 or 844-492-2766; or, you can send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. To learn more about Holabird Western Americana Collections and their calendar of events, visit www.holabirdamericana.com.